They say the kitchen is the heart of the home, but we’re here to make the argument that that’s the living room’s job—especially when you live in an apartment where the former is the size of a closet. The living room is where you gather with friends, binge on Netflix with your roommate, and display your impressive book collection for guests to admire. It has to be multifunctional, livable, and, above all, personal. So the idea of decorating it can often seem daunting—between determining a focal point, finding a layout that makes sense, and staying within budget, there’s a lot to consider.
Whether you want your space to feel larger (in which case, you might want to err toward the minimal) or you want a room that has timeless appeal (for this, you can’t go wrong with a mid-century modern vibe), here are 15 living room ideas to get you started.
Farrow & Ball’s meditative Hague Blue steals the show in St. Frank founder Christina Bryant’s New York City apartment. Pick a shade, add a pop of contrast with a bright accent piece, and ta-da! A tranquil yet chic space—kick back and bask in the monochrome.
General Store owner Serena Mitnik-Miller and architect Mason St. Peter’s renovation game plan was to build a sense of refined minimalism into their cabin-esque space. One result? This California-cool living room, where original wood paneling on the walls and ceiling is partnered with sleek furniture like this Hans Wegner sofa and floor pillows comfy enough for a catnap.
Maximalists, take note. DJ Mia Moretti went graphic in her Manhattan apartment, and the space is basically dedicated to anyone who loves pattern on pattern. Pairing a geometric natural material, like brick, with bold black-and-white stripes makes for unexpected eye candy that will leave your guests (and you) hungry for more.
Minted founder Mariam Naficy’s living room in California’s Napa Valley is all about texture. Natural materials such as wood and rattan combined with nubby wall art and wide windows can read warm and cozy during winter and easy-breezy in the heat. Think: good vibes year-round.
If you didn’t know “playful Scandi” was a thing before, you do now. In architect and designer Emily Farnham’s artfully curated Los Angeles space, a strong color combo layered over lots of white and light wood sets a welcoming scene. Plus, the hints of leafy green will tempt even the most hardened anti-gardener to try their hand at plant parenting.
The ultimate Hamptons beach house does exist. Winnie Beattie’s Amagansett living room, doused in natural light and combining the simplicity of fresh whites with rattan and wood moments, merges the indoors and out for the vacation feel you’re craving 24-7.
Your living room can be both the R&R hub of your home and your go-to entertaining space. Design around an eye-catching statement that subtly prioritizes comfort, like the pink velvet sofas in Michelle Nader’s Los Angeles house, and friends will beg to sink into the cushions with appetizers and a glass of wine.
Are there any problems dynamic wallpaper can’t fix? Aelfie Oudghiri’s Bridgehampton seating area is your answer; what could be a big expanse of negative space is covered in a quirky print that serves as the backdrop for a center-stage bookshelf that houses knickknacks, worldly treasures, and everything in between.
Herman Miller chairs and a Milo Baughman coffee table certainly make Garance Doré’s living room swoon-worthy, but what we love the most about the L.A. space is its effortless cohesion of top-of-the-line design and a laid-back feel (we give credit to those blush built-in sofas).
It’s time to go Technicolor. Edie Parker founder Brett Heyman’s Manhattan home bring on the ’80s vibes and poppy hues. Here’s an ideal example of letting your space reflect who you are (for instance, a neon pink coffee table topped with a Barbie book), resulting in a room that’s completely one of a kind.
If Joshua Tree is at the top of your dream destination list, this Topanga Canyon living room belongs on your Pinterest board. Textile and jewelry designer Malia Mau brought in a massive cacti, a live-edge coffee table, woven baskets, and plenty of light to form the perfect desert-chic spot.
The most epic primary-colored living room award goes to the one in Jessica Walsh’s loft in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood; the graphic designer swears by saturated shades like this electric blue. She balances them all out by sticking to clean-lined furniture. “Eric [Mailaender] pulled me toward a cleaner, more Scandinavian style,” she told us in the Spring 2017 issue.
Alexa, play “Wide Open Spaces” by the Dixie Chicks. Photographer Thayer Gowdy’s living room–kitchen hybrid in San Francisco is a seemingly endless space (hence our song choice). Unstained wood cabinetry blends right in with the white and pastel yellow palette, which not only makes the area feel open and airy but allows for family members and guests to join forces in cooking dinner, lounging, or having a dance party.
Eclectic doesn’t even begin to describe singer and artist Lourdes Hernández’s living room. It combines graphic art, stripes, geometric shapes, and various textures to create what is essentially a real-life collage. The reason it all works? Simple white walls. Now there’s really nothing stopping you from going all-in on your decor.
More Living Room Inspo:
10 Living Room Trends You’ll See Everywhere in 2019
This Sofa Trend Will Replace Your Mid-Century Obsession
Sunken Living Rooms Should Probably Make a Comeback, According to Will Taylor